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Buxton gets grant to look at Opera House improvements

Published: 15 April 2019

Arts Council England and High Peak borough council have awarded Buxton Opera House a grant to conduct a study on how to protect and enhance the building.

The Opera House is looking to improve backstage facilities so that it can attract a higher calibre of production. Its original hemp rope flying system and uneven stage are said to be no longer fit for purpose and limit what shows can take to the Opera House stage.

A feasibility study will identify what needs to be done to the Grade II listed building, although changes are expected to be sympathetic to the original vision of renowned theatre architect Frank Matcham.

Chief executive Paul Kerryson said the Opera House’s facilities were a barrier to having major touring theatre and dance productions visiting Buxton.

“Improving our facilities will have a huge benefit for our audiences,” he said. “From providing a smooth raked stage which large touring companies prefer to making the theatre truly accessible for all, these changes would provide Buxton with one of the best theatre experiences around.

“As winners of the most welcoming theatre award in the East Midlands over the past few years, we see it as our responsibility to provide our community with the best productions and facilities that we can offer.”

The feasibility study will take seven weeks and will propose a number of options for consideration before any decisions are made. The public will be able to view the proposals on the Buxton Opera House web site from June.

Steve Orme